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Former Tide defensive coordinator Joe Kines told Austin players and boosters Alabama is making progress under Nick Saban.
Former Tide assistant says team is few plays away from ‘great year’
By Josh Cooper
Just as he did on the dais after the Independence Bowl. Joe Kines leaned on his knee and without the help of a microphone, gave a sermon.
Instead of addressing reporters, he was talking with the Austin High athletic booster club and football team at the Austin High auditorium Thursday night.
Kines was Alabama’s defensive coordinator from 2003-06. Last season, after former coach Mike Shula was fired, Kines coached the Crimson Tide in the Independence Bowl.
Instead of taking a job somewhere else after the Tide’s coaching change, Kines continues to work for the Alabama athletic department. He sells corporate seats, helps with booster clubs and goes on speaking engagements.
“I really think Coach (Nick) Saban is a heck of a football coach,” Kines said.
“He knows what he wants. He knows where he is going. He knows how to really make a difference. Already we are just a couple plays away from having a super great year.”
Kines spoke of his war stories.
He talked of how former University of Georgia cornerback Champ Bailey could “jump over this building,” and how former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke always brought a cell phone to work out.
The reason? So he could call his teammates and berate them if they were late.
“He would take that cell phone everywhere,” Kines said.
Most importantly for Kines, he spent the 40 minutes giving the players words of encouragement and life lessons.
Asked whether he critiques this year’s Tide, he just shrugs.
“Shoot no,” Kines said. “I don’t have that right. I know this business, I don’t have the right to make a call. I just enjoy watching the youngsters play. I recruited some of those guys and to see them when they do good, I enjoy that.”
But most importantly, how is his oft-referenced wife Rubye taking his new role?
“She is fine with it,” he says with a laugh. “After 41 years (of coaching), she is a better coach than I was anyway.”
“I’m thrilled to death to be here,” Kines said before his 40-minute speech. “I really didn’t realize this was the high school booster club. Most towns have a quarterback club, but I’m thrilled to death.”
Kines said his niece Katie graduated from Austin last year, and his brother Bruce is a Decatur resident, so coming to Austin had special significance.
A few months ago, Black Bears booster Heath Holdbrookes contacted him about speaking at Austin. Kines agreed, and he made the two-hour trek from Tuscaloosa to Decatur.
“It was a community effort,” said Redus Tittle, president of the Austin Athletic Boosters. “We wanted to give back to the community.”
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